Drawing inspiration from fairytale, legend and dark romance, Natasha Chambers’ dreamy illustrations carefully unite the digital and natural worlds.
Delicate and distinctive yet fittingly commercial, the Londoner’s pieces have been commissioned for various marketing projects from magazines and album covers to advertising and online media.
Photoshop and Illustrator’s digital tools have aided in elucidating and decorating her visualisations, but she’s now exploring a more organic approach: ‘I scan and photograph everything down to the pattern on my sofa, but I’m trying to simplify my work now so that I get away from the whole digital thing. I’ve been using silk screens and other processes, which feels a lot more satisfying and real at the moment.’
In composing her forthcoming London exhibition the SAE graduate stylishly and meticulously fuses ‘present day and inherent nostalgia’ in a new body of work dedicated to the gods. ‘I’m very excited about it because I’m actually making the images instead of just digitally designing them. It’s great being much more hands on.’
How does London inspire you creatively?
‘There are so many talented people which is daunting sometimes and creates pressure but also it’s inspiring. Also there are so many areas to find interesting antique things…and old establishments that have been doing what they do for so long.
‘Actually today I realised being on the Tube is a bit useful because it forces you to read. Having attention deficit-type problems makes it difficult elsewhere, but there isn’t much else you can do on the Tube.’
What’s your favourite part of London?
‘I love riding on a nearly empty double decker bus on the top front seat to anywhere. I also love cycling through Hampstead Heath or any park that has lots of good downhill bits, and of course all of the old historic bits and the canals and the taxi boat to Greenwich…and …Monument Tower.’
Tell us about the creative process of your illustrations, and the ideas behind them?
‘I take my camera and document stuff, and have a database of pictures that have something in them that I like, for example fashion, objects, words, styling, patterns or textures, and then I make a massive collage when I brainstorm an idea. It can develop into lots of phases and go down so many routes, especially as it’s digital.’
Your work is so delicate and natural. How difficult is that atmosphere to create living in a place like London?
‘I think London is quite hardcore on the compression scale sometimes so I suppose drawing is escapism for me. I think it gives a lot of inspiration and emotion. I love getting out of London and have got into surfing which is brilliant. It’s good to have somewhere everything you suck in here has an opportunity to process, and I love being around nature but also love so much about London.’
Where would you recommend everyone in London visit at least once?
‘The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It’s quite horrific but sort of a must-see on a fascination basis. I’m not sure if I should recommend it or warn people. I felt pretty weird and dizzy in there, it’s floor-to-ceiling with jars of bits and things. So I’ll say definitely visit Monument Tower, and run up the stairs as fast as you can.’